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BAVO, campus ministry host ‘Trauma and Spirituality’ discussion virtually – Observer Online

As April sexual assault awareness month approaches, the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO), campus ministry and the wellness program teamed up to present Trauma and Spirituality, a conversation on the effects of trauma on overall health, spirituality and belief systems.

The discussion addressed questions of how one can overcome negative or stressful thoughts about the current pandemic, as well as how to use prayer for meditation and stress relief.

This event is particularly valuable during this time in our society where coronavirus has affected our daily lives and may have altered the way we think about faith, BAVO coordinator Liz Coulston said in an email to students.

Sophomore Emily Karalus, a BAVO Student Advisory Committee (SAC) member, said Trauma and Spirituality served the purpose of including all of the different faiths and spiritualities on campus in the healing process.

It allowed the panelists to explore different coping mechanisms and self-care practices after traumatic events, Karalus said in an email. It was an event that all of our students could participate in despite their differences in faith. Our main focus was on showing students that there is a way to overcome trauma despite what your beliefs may be, before and after the traumatic event.

Though the College is not allowing anyone on campus currently and classes will be completed remotely until the end of the semester, Karalus said BAVO still wanted to continue to hold this event as it is an important topic for many, even when students find themselves stuck at home.

We also chose to continue with this event because it is extremely beneficial during this time of chaos and disarray, Karalus said. We knew that this event could help ground our students and to ensure that they are taking care of themselves. It also provided us an opportunity to let the students, who have experienced trauma, know that there are still resources and supports available for them on and off-campus. We described that during a time like this, it may be harder or easier to heal from the trauma that they have experienced.

Karalus said the event did not change much since it was moved online.

We incorporated all the same questions and panelists, and we sent the goodie bags to the students home address instead of them having them pick them up if the event was in person, Karalus said. It was not hard to make the transition to a virtual event since we had great panelists and many of our ideas already laid out.

The event panelists included assistant director of Campus Ministry Liz Palmer, BAVO coordinator Liz Coulston and senior ministry assistant Annie Maguire.

Maguire said cross-campus events such as those between BAVO and Campus Ministry are important since she believes her community can accomplish more when working together.

When we utilize and harness the assets, wisdom and resources we have in our community, we broaden our reach to students, cultivate our capacity for change-making and deepen our prosperity as an institution, she said.

Maguire said the events partnership between Campus Ministry and BAVO promotes a holistic approach to healing, especially in the midst of a global health emergency.

I found myself [beginning] the process of healing when I reflected upon the questions on the panel, Maguire said in an email. Everyone is affected by this pandemic differently, and this panel helped me open my heart and my mind to the ways I could touch others with my words and reflections to inspire collective healing as well.

Maguire believes her experience ministry assistant on campus at Saint Marys can uplift others right now.

I think its important that students know that despite the distance that separates our community, the community of Saint Marys never leaves them, Maguire said. Saint Marys is here for them no matter what. Its time to extend our love to each other across the miles in creative and meaningful ways.

More than 70 students registered for the event via Google Forms, with more than 50 people appearing on Google Meet during the event time.

We are glad that we could provide support and insight into these topics to so many students today, Karalus said. This is one of the greatest turnouts we have ever had for BAVO events, and we are so happy that we could stay connected as a community today.

BAVO will continue to post tips regarding self-care activities, quotes, recommendations and academic study tips, as well as host more virtual events for students, including GreenDot training overviews and stress-management sessions.

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BAVO, campus ministry host 'Trauma and Spirituality' discussion virtually - Observer Online

There’s A Spirit In My Spirituality – Thrive Global

But the manifestation of the Spirit isgiven to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdomthrough the Spirit the word of knowledge through the same Spirit to anotherfaith by the same Spirit to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit toanother the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning ofspirits, to another different kind of tongues, to another the interpretation oftongues. But the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individuallyas He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)

We have entered a time of increased power and abilitiesin our God-given gifts. More individuals are knowing the future ofcatching a glimpse of the unseen world. Along with this, is the increase ofquestioning; Is this real, is this of God, am I crazy?

To begin, lets try to unravel this bible quote.Someone who defines themselves as religious may also describe themselves asbeing spiritual, while to be sure, someone who is spiritual does not have to bereligious. In the United States, those who identify themselves as religious arethe least likely to hold paranormal beliefs. In contrast, a person operatingfrom the identity of Spiritual is very open to the idea.

Most major religious faiths in the world scope, do havea belief in the existence of ghosts of some definition. The doctrinal teachingsmay not say the word ghost, but spirits that behave like ghosts arewithin the theologies of most other world cultures.

I understand this questioning and yearning to makesense of a paranormal event of prophecy and seeing spirits and other entities.I have struggled with it since my earliest memories can recall. I haveknown things that come to pass. I have seen what I believe wereAngels. One was of light the other darkness. I have seen ghosts. I have beengiven messages from the dead that I could not have known myself, and many werefor strangers. But all the words were not only accurate but detailed, and somewere family secrets. Who was I seeing? Who was I getting these prophecies andall this knowledge from? I dont know is the real answer. I still do not know.

I pray to God and ask mostly not to know or see, but itpersists. I ask only to interact with God or his good Angels or messengers. Butcan I tell you who, no? So when I say I understand it can be confusing andfrightening to experience, and that is compounded by not feeling able to sharefor fear of judgment, I am telling you my truth.

So why all the judgment? Well, as a society we aretaught if not by our families, certainly in the earlier decades in school thatthere is good and evil and things are black and white, and there is noin-between. If you experience knowing something that comes to pass, you must bea witch. If you see a ghost, it must be a demon.

So even those seeking answers in the Bible are confusedby the different versions and terminology. They are referred to as spirits,ghosts, familiar spirits, which are not the same. For example, lets examineLuke 24:37-39.

In Luke 24:37, 39 King James Version, the Lord appearsto his disciples after his resurrection. Its recorded that they were terrifiedand supposed that they had seen a spirit. Jesus said, Handle me andsee; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have. The NewInternational Version and Holman said: thinking they saw a ghost, andJesus then says, a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see Ihave. In other bible versions, they vary in the usage of ghost orSpirit

Another passage concerning ghosts is when Christ waswalking on water. His disciples thought he was a ghost stated in Matthew 14:26.It was suggesting even Christs disciples experiences and teachings allowedfor spirits. Christ never corrected this in any following passages. In Matthew14:26, it says: When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they wereterrified, and said, It is a ghost! And they cried out in fear.Commentary from Adam Clarke states it is a spirit That the souls of thedead might and did appear, was a doctrine held by the greatest and holiest ofmen that ever existed; and a principle which the cavaliers, free-thinkers, andbound-thinkers, of different ages, have never been able to disprove. AlbertBarnes Notes on the Whole Bible that they were troubled They were afraid.The sight was remarkable. It was sufficient to awe them. In the night, amid thetumultuous billows appeared the form of a man. They thought it was a spirit anapparition. It was a common belief among the ancients that the souls of peopleafter death frequently appeared to the living.

Now that being said, the term familiar spiritscompletely different in perceived origin. The word familiar is from the Latinfamiliaris, meaning a household servant, and is intended to expressthe idea that sorcerers had spirits as their servants ready to obey theircommands. Those attempting to contact the dead, even to this day, usually havesome spirit guide who communicates with them.

Use discernment in every instance of prophecy andvisions of the dead or other entities. First Thessalonians 5:21-22 tells us ofour responsibility to be discerning: But sift through everything; holdfast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. The apostleJohn issues a similar warning when he says, Do not believe everyspirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because manyfalse prophets have gone out into the world, and in 1 John 4:1 fromthe New Testament, discernment is not optional for the believer it isrequired.

I have known very credible Christian people that haveexperienced what is referred to as paranormal encounters with spirits inperson, on film, and through hearing voices or receiving messages. Each hasmade their conclusion about the experience. Some believe the message was directlyfrom God to them. Some believe the Spirit they saw was not a demon or lostsoul, but their beloved family member or loved one. Others think a spiritcaptured on film was a glimpse into a parallel universe, just a thin veilbetween us. I believe, for my part, that is has been a mixture of divineinteraction with the messengers of God. Other experienced I firmly believe werelow-level energies. Interestingly enough, I have never seen the Spirit of anyof my family members that have crossed over. None.

Several ghosts that I have seen appeared to be goingabout their business without even knowing I was there. The Angels Iencountered, I believe, came from different sources since one passing wasnatural and happened the morning of the appearance; the other foretold a murderthat came to pass three days later.

It is a vast subject, and we only lightly touched onseveral possibilities here. I wish you peace, and I hope this has helped youmake sense of what you have possibly encountered.

Blessings, Teal L. Gray

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There's A Spirit In My Spirituality - Thrive Global

A Spiritual Walk: Creating a new vision for our world is how we rise – Dearborn Press and Guide

Our country has encountered a new virus for which we have no natural immunity. Because it has spread around the world, we call it a pandemic, and we must take steps to stop its spread. The temporary interruption of our lives has created extra concern for people.

Take time to breathe slow, calming breaths. Lets take a spiritual walk into the consciousness of this experience together. Awareness is the first key. We are now aware of the virus; from this space of awareness, take time to pray and meditate on the world you want to see when this is all over.

As you listen to media reports, bless them for doing their job and reporting so we have awareness. Hear the facts and recommendations, but also look for the good in each report. Note the number of survivors. Look for new medicines and techniques, look for people working together, sharing ideas and putting systems into place that are working. Keep your eye out for God in action by looking for people who are helping the homeless, those packing free lunches for kids who are missing school lunches, administrators and teachers supporting their students online, and people reaching out to others for safety or connection to the outside world.

This is a time of uncertainty, but soon it will be over.

Its no mistake that this is happening during the Easter season. During this time, Jesus showed us the way. He knew life was changing and He was the change! Right now, WE are the change!

As spiritual beings having a human experience, we are here at this time to be the change the world needs. What that change is we do not have to know or understand. The best we can do is take our thinking mind, our doing mind, and give it rest, time to step aside. This is our 40 days of consciousness living. Let God work through your consciousness as you cross out worries and free up space. Free up from a full day of work, from running here and there, from the need to have this or that. We have been brought to the space of what is most important to us for a reason.

This is our time and we are the ones to let go and let God work as we free up space to let our imaginations wander through all the good we possibly can. Lets take time daily to step out of the way and let God our Higher Power and the energy that organized and created all there is work!

Resist temptation to tell God what has to be done. God does not need our direction. Instead, take time to read materials that strengthen your own connection with your God source.

During our prayer and meditation time, we must surrender our thoughts of what we see in the world and leave our minds open to expansion. We want to be open to what can be better than the life we had or have now.

Its like having a blank, white dry-erase board. Nothing on it. No hidden agendas or ideas that are going to make our lives better.

Next, using our minds eye, we want to picture our family, our community, states, country and our entire world lifted into wellness. In our minds, we must see people smiling and happy.

Release any energy or thoughts of separation. In God mind, there is no separation, we are never separated from God. See and feel in your heart that all people everywhere in the world are filled with joy as they once again connect with their friends and communities, and life is back to normal.

Remember, we can change our world by changing what we see. We do this through visualizing a world we want to live in. Our new world is created through our manifesting.

Question check in with yourself right now, is your faith stronger than your fear? The Bible has plenty of stories about change happening where God is involved. Think of Noah and the ark. Noah had no answers, but his faith was strong and he created a path for God to move through and make the necessary changes.

Now its our turn, and our responsibility to be the change. When we lift our consciousness from human actions and let go of worldly things and think of more spiritual and positive things, we lift our world. With that lift, we ALL rise, our crooked paths are made straight. We will find systems and advancements for future pandemics, a better way of connecting with those around the globe and living the truth of spirit: that we are all one.

I affirm wellness for you and your family, seeing you all happy and filled with life!

Linda La Croix is the unity director and prayer chaplain at Unity of Lake Orion. Find positive and uplifting posts on her Facebook page, A Spiritual Walk, or at aspiritualwalk.com.

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A Spiritual Walk: Creating a new vision for our world is how we rise - Dearborn Press and Guide

Blood Drives and Online Religious Services: Spirituality in the Time of COVID-19 – WYSO

The Coronavirus is changing the way Ohioans celebrate their spirituality. Houses of worship are moving their services online and finding new ways to serve their followers.

Emmanuel Catholic Church in downtown Dayton has put the Stations of the Cross online, in a 35-minute video.

In Oakwood, Rabbi Joshua Ginsberg at Beth Abraham Synagogue posted his weekly Dvar Torah on SoundCloud.

The Hindu Temple in Beavercreek is closed to worshippers right now, but priests at the temple have been live streaming prayers.

While most places of worship arent having the large gatherings they usually do, life and death go on. For now, most funerals are being kept small. Just immediate family members and a few close friends.

Despite the challenges, people of all faiths are finding ways to connect with their communities.

Father Tim Fahey at Saint Charles Borromeo in Kettering says volunteers are contacting anyone they think might need help.

Were trying to push that as a primary ministry for a lot of our parishioners at this point because we know so many people are feeling so alone and anxious about the whole thing, Fahey says.

This weekend, St. Charles wont be holding a mass thats open to the public, but they will be hosting a blood drive on Saturday morning at 9AM.

Right now, blood in the Miami Valley is in short supply, and blood donors are exempt from the Health Departments Stay at Home order.

Its still on, Fahey says. Theyll be pulling a trailer up to the parking lots and running the whole blood program from there.

In addition to St. Charles, Fairhaven Church and St. Francis in Centerville will also be hosting blood drives.

A statement about blood donors being exempt from the Stay at Home order and a list this weeks Community Blood Center Events can be found on their website.

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Blood Drives and Online Religious Services: Spirituality in the Time of COVID-19 - WYSO

Spirituality and social distancing: Amsterdam church offers drive-up prayer – The Daily Gazette

CAPITAL REGION -- In a time of crisis and uncertainty, the Rev. Judy Humphrey-Fox knows that people cling to their faith more than ever.

To express that, connection is vital. Its not easy to create that when government mandates require people maintain at least six feet of distance between each other as social distancing is implemented to attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. But Humphrey-Fox, pastor at Amsterdams United Methodist Church, found a way.

Every night from 6 to 7 p.m., Humphrey-Fox and Perry Read, the churchs lay leader, stand at the end of the church driveway on Golf Course Road with signs indicating that anyone can pull up, remain in their car, maintain a safe distance and be blessed and prayed for.

If she cant bring people into her church, Humphrey-Fox is more than happy to bring the church to the people even if its drive-through style, one at a time.

Christians have always had to be flexible in how we do ministry, according to the time and the place, Humphrey-Fox said. So, were doing that now as well. The people that have pulled up for prayer so far have all expressed a similar need to connect with somebody, Humphrey-Fox said.

Even if youre standing at a distance, she said, youre a person who hears their personal needs and prays for them. Religious services across the state have been canceled as part of a wide swath of social distancing measures.

On Wednesday afternoon, Albany County issued a press release stating the countys Department of Health is seeking to contact anyone who was present at the Victory Bible Church at 21 Hackett Blvd. in Albany from 12:30-2 p.m. on March 14 and asking any of those who were present at that time to remain in their homes under precautionary quarantine until March 29.

These are uncertain times that could shake faith, but religious leaders from throughout the Capital Region have seen a rather different effect.

People are understanding. What Im seeing in people is the best of their humanity, said Rabbi Matt Cutler of Schenectadys Congregation Gates of Heaven. Theyre gracious. Theyre grateful. They understand the circumstances, that these arent haphazard.

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Places of worship throughout the area have adapted to serve those in need of their spiritual service and guidance.

Amsterdams United Methodist Church isnt the only place offering a drive-up option. Each day from 3 to 4 p.m. at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Schenectady, Father Matthew Frisoni sets up in the rectory garage of the Albany Street church and parishioners can drive up and remain in their car at a safe distance as Frisoni takes their confession.

The changes range from lo-fi to high-tech, as many houses of worship have now opted to offer online streaming for their services.

Mary DeTurris Poust, communicatons director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, said in an email that traffic at the dioceses website is up 1,750% in the past week, with the highest concentration going to links for televised mass and for coronavirus resources.

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger will celebrate his first mass on Facebook Live this Sunday at 9:15 a.m.

I am so amazed and inspired by what Im seeing happening out in our parishes. Even those that have never attempted live-streaming or Facebook Live, are doing whatever they can to reach out to their parishioners even if its simply a cell phone on a tripod for video purposes, DeTurris Poust said. I think its because they know their parishioners are desperately hungry for spiritual connection during this really critical and chaotic time.

At the United Methodist Church, Humphrey-Fox found a middle ground. This past Sundays morning service was offered via Facebook Live, but Humphrey-Fox also knew there were many members of her congregation who dont do the internet. They dont do Facebook. If all youre offering for a Sunday service is, come and join us online, that doesnt meet those people. Humphrey-Foxs solution was, once again, to bring the church outside. The service was conducted in the churchs spacious back parking lot, with about a dozen cars pulling in.

A few people got out of their cars and maintained safe distance from each other, though most remained in their cars and listened as Humphrey-Fox conducted the service on a chilly first morning of spring.

We have a loudspeaker, and we have a big parking lot, Humphrey-Fox said. It was 25 degrees and sunny, and I never expected myself to be doing something like that, standing out there in the cold.

Online options are sprouting up everywhere.

Mohamed Rabie, the imam at Halfmoons Al-Arqam Center the only mosque in Saratoga County said his mosque is now offering some services via Skype and using YouTube and other social media platforms.

I wouldnt say its as effective as being there face-to-face communication is always the best but thats the best we can do for now, Rabie said.

At Congregation Gates of Heaven, Cutler said the synagogue has moved everything it can to online platforms.

As a liberal, Reform Jewish temple, Congregation Gates of Heaven is permitted to live-stream its services, and Cutler said attendance has increased tenfold for recent Sabbath services.

The synagogue has also utilized platforms like Zoom teleconferencing to conduct activities including Torah study, spiritual meditation exercises and even religious school for 150 young students. The congregation will also host an upcoming guest speaker via Zoom.

It causes us to really hunker down and draw on inner strength and technology to do things that are essential for peoples spiritual well-being, Cutler said.

Utilizing new technology is just one option.

Religious leaders throughout the region are taking extra care to reach out to their congregations especially older members.

Sort of the normal pastoral stuff, Humphrey-Fox said, but [we want] to do it more often now. Theres also a desire to provide more than just spiritual help.

As he spent Tuesday afternoon praying with those who came to pick up food at Amsterdams AMEN Place Soup Kitchen, Pastor Philip Bishop of the Freedom Life Baptist Church said that members of his congregation were reaching out to others who might not be able to leave their homes and making trips to the store for them.

Rabie said that there are members of the community at the Al-Arqam Center who are immigrants without American citizenship that cant get government assistance if their job situations are impacted during the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown. Were trying to build a list and see how we can help from our charity money, to see if we can help those families, Rabie said.

Its all about maintaining connection, however they can.

God said that, They that worship Him must worship him in spirit and in truth, Bishop said. It doesnt have to be in a building.

People need to be reminded that whatever is going on around us, God still loves us, God is still with us, Humphrey-Fox said. We can still turn to God. We dont have to be afraid in these circumstances, and we are never distanced from God if we would be open to experiencing God.

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Spirituality and social distancing: Amsterdam church offers drive-up prayer - The Daily Gazette

Epistles Of The EndTime, Part 3: Spiritual Sluggishness – Modern Ghana

The bible clearly told us that one of the signs of the end of times will be spiritual sluggishness where people care less about their spirituality whiles the fleshly mundane things becomes a priority. Timothy and the account of Matthew puts it this way: the love of many (not few) will grow cold and people will become lovers of themselves rather than lovers of God. My assignment is to remind us of the indicators of these days so that we will not become victims of it unaware. The signs are already clear as it were, the best we can do is to help mitigate the risk of losing God at the expense of maintaining or jobs. The following as prescribed in 2nd Timothy 3:1-2 will be some indicators to our spiritual sluggishness as the son of man tarries:

People will be Lovers of themselves, LOVERS OF MONEY, Disobedient to their Parent, Ungrateful, Without Self-control, Unforgiving and LOVERS OF PLEASURES RATHER THAN LOVERS OF GOD.

During the era of this global catastrophic pandemic, you may have seen one or two of these traits in the lives of people or in your own life as a pastor, a student, a politician, a trader or a business man. If we are in seasons like this and people can still inflate prices by 300% just to make abnormal profit, that's not just character flaws, no, it is the character that loves money than fellow humans. That is a manifestation of the wickedness in the heart of man awaiting expression. You slept early and your alarm sounded for you to pray and you didn't only put it off, you took the battery out and covered yourself with a bigger blanket so you can feel good, and you deny a generation of the intercession that could have been done out of love for the body of Christ.

Your phone got missing and you bought a new one. You failed an exam, you quickly re-registered and took the papers again. Your partner divorced you and you found a way to remarry. You lost your job and then got a new one, your church was attacked and you quickly built another church but YOUR PRAYER LIFE IS DYING FOR YEARS NOW AND IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU. YOUR DON'T HAVE A BIBLE, YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY YOU SHOULD FAST AND FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT SELDOMELY MANIFEST IN YOUR LIFE, and it is of no concern to you yet these are the matters of the spirit that are superior to this realm. Check it, it could be the love of pleasure more than love for God.

The Bible has told us that the things that are seen were not made of the things that do appear, meaning the realm of the spirit birthed this physical realm. So, if there is any attention to give to your destiny, it should be an investment into your spiritual life. The boast that you know God should be superior to your boast in the crowd that gathers for your Sunday service. The boast that you know God should be superior to the boast of property acquisition. The boast that you know God should be superior to the boast of amassing academic accolades. This is because a time is coming where everything will standstill and fail but the only source to draw strength will be your relationship with your maker.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus! Grant me encounters and conviction stronger than what I know. I avail myself for your teachings and Lordship. I receive and accept you as my Lord and Personal Savior.Thank you.

R. Duafah[emailprotected]

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Epistles Of The EndTime, Part 3: Spiritual Sluggishness - Modern Ghana

Album Review: IGORRR Spirituality and Distortion – Metal Injection.net

Back in 2017, Savage Sinusoid was without a doubt a landmark album, surprising the metal community and boasting the next level of experimental heavy music. While French multi-instrumentalist mastermind behind the project Gautier Serre had previously put out a couple releases, it was that 2017 LP put out through Metal Blade Records that placed Igorrr's name on the map.

Igorrr boldly challenged the fundamentals of both experimental music and metal and indisputably broke down boundaries (heck, we gave Savage Sinusoid a perfect score review for such reasons). With that being said, his music may be unique, but not exactly the easiest listen. Warped and abrasive electronics combatting blood-curdling, abstract screams was eye-opening on the innovation level, yet sometimes comparable to staring into the sun on one's eardrums. I absolutely applaud the offbeat approach that Igorrr displayed on Savage Sinusoid and was intrigued to discover if such abrasiveness would continue or would this radical musical project take a different turn on the follow-up.

Cutting to the chase, Spirituality and Distortion shows Igorrr exploring new stylistic and songwriting realms, yet also staying true to his unorthodox and sometimes jarring identity. The mesmerizing hodge-podge within this latest record is conjured up all through the help of some of Gautier's friends including violinist Timba Harris, bassist Mike Leon, pianist Matt Lebofsky, Oud player Mehdi Haddab, accordion player Pierre Mussi, Kanoun player Fotini Kokkala, and harpsichordist Benjamin Bardiaux as well as the prominent vocalists Laure Le Prunenec and Laurent Lunoir, known for their operatic and unclean deliveries respectively.

Considering that Savage Sinusoid was his claim to fame release, this review will focus on what new routesthat Igorrr has confidently sauntered down and alternatively, which aspects still remain true to his previous material. The first notable aspect on this LP was the increase in heaviness. In the past, Igorrrs heaviness was derived from rabid vocalizations and distorted electronics on top of neck-break speed riffing and blast beats. While these elements carry over to this new record, the inclusion of more straightforward guitar riffs become the driving force behind what makes these tracks so hard-hitting. The heaviest and most guitar-driven moments can be found in "Nervous Waltz," "Himalaya Massive Ritual," and the latter half of "Overweight Poesy." But I'd be daft if I didn't point out "Parpaing," both heavy musically and vocally with Cannibal Corpse's George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher on the mic.

Secondly, Spirituality and Distortion is all in all more ambitious regarding musical diversity. Granted, Igorrr had already established a reputation for fusing a variety of styles such as death/black metal, baroque, folk, and electronica, but this new material expands the reach further. The most notable musical path explored would be the Eastern musicalities showcased on a multitude of tracks like "Camel Dancefloor," "Downgrade Desert," and "Himalaya Massive Ritual." As you can tell, the tracks titles on this album are humorously accurate to what the song sounds like. Other examples of this being the overly caffeinated ballroom score "Nervous Waltz," the zany and hefty "Paranoid Bulldozer Italiano," or the aforementioned "Himalaya Massive Ritual," which is both immense in its seven-minute length and sonic breadth.

Although, the Eastern stylization was mostly a new frontier for Igorrr, we still find tracks in more familiar territory. "Very Noise" is still an envelope-pushing composition holding abrasive breakbeat electronica alike Aphex Twin, but still within the usual Igorrr wheelhouse. Similarly, "Lost in Introspection" follows a more trip hop formula through the first half, with a piano-driven melody and beat in the vein of Moby or RJD2, before launching back into Igorrrs signature metallic baroque fusion.

On the topic of baroque fusion, head to "Hollow Tree," "Paranoid Bulldozer Italiano," "Nervous Waltz," "Overweight Poesy," "Barocco Satani," and to an extent "Polyphonic Rust" for your fix of Igorrr's signature style. Furthermore, "Musette Maximum" comes off as a sequel to the accordian-driven "Cheval" with funky zydeco closer "Kung-Fu Chvre" finishing off the accordion trilogy. You could argue that these songs would easily have snugly fit into the explosive and experimental atmosphere of Savage Sinusoid, however I feel that songwriting-wise, these compositions are far more refined.

Of all the fourteen tracks within this album, a broad spectrum of styles is expressed ranging from metal, electronic, baroque, and European and Eastern regional music. Despite this variety, the entire bundle is not only a dynamic and cohesive package, Igorrr also expertly balances the absurdity of avant garde melodies and rhythms with a sense of solid song-writing.I found immense relief in that the compositions on Spirituality and Distortion focused less on the goal of pushing the envelope sonically and structurally, but instead shining a light on the diverse stylistic variety as well as actually including hooks.

Overall, Spirituality and Distortion rounds up to be the ideal follow-up to Savage Sinusoid. For those new to Igorrr, the unorthodox nature may be surprising, but with an open mind, Spirituality and Distortion is definitely his easiest pill to swallow and furthermore a perfect beginners gateway to experimental metal and music. And lastly, for those already fans of Igorrr's music, this record will be a delight as this album showcases him successfully expanding his musical palette while also strengthening his compositional abilities. In the end, I found myself constantly drawn back to listen to the full album in entirety as nearly every moment is a highlight.

9.5/10

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Album Review: IGORRR Spirituality and Distortion - Metal Injection.net

How Spirituality and Jewish Values Informed Lucas Asher’s Business Success – The Jewish Voice

By Jewish Voice Editor

When Lucas Asher was a teenager, he struggled with homelessness. But through Judaisms teachings, he found direction and clarity. This perspective allowed him to recognize the agents of history, and the foresight to invest in their vehicles, including Elon Musks SpaceX.

More importantly, Asher discovered his lifes purpose: To become a catalyst for change through technology, like his hero David Geffen did for music.

Asher makes his base between LA, NY and Miami. He currently has Invested in 36 of the tech industrys most innovative companies including companies like, Virgin Hyperloop One, Planet, Pinterest, Spotify, Flexport, Robinhood, Betterment, Space X, Palantir, Adaptive Biotech and many more. As if he isnt busy enough, he serves as CEO of 3 fast growing companies like his music streaming service Revo.

Asher is a talented musician himself having worked with hip hop legends RZA from The Wu Tang Clan his track Revolutionary summons imagery of the iconic Theodore Hertzel as he crones about changing longstanding systems. Its message has resonated on a mainstream level, with the music video receiving over 2 million views on YouTube. His current single with Kanye West producer Emile Haynie Satisfy me is approaching 2 million streams on Spotify.

Guiding his business success is Judaisms teachings that Hashem created the universe, and that we have a limited amount of time on earth to accomplish everything. We recently caught up with Asher to discuss how spirituality has inspired him to change the world.

How did your upbringing in the Jewish community inform your entrepreneurial mission?

I came from a very poor upbringing, so I always had it in my heart to contribute to Jewish causes. Specifically, I want to support Israel and provide mentors for my community. And I just wasnt in a position to do that growing up, especially given the poor environment I came from. So entrepreneurship was essentially my way out. Like a lot of Jews, it was pretty much the only option I had. So I think thats how it contributed to my entrepreneurial mission. And then from there, I went on and invested in over 36 disruptive tech companies. So its been quite a wild ride to say the least.

Did you have any Rabbis or Jewish business leaders growing up that you really looked up to and helped create a blueprint for you?

Absolutely, Rabbi Chaim Shanowitz was a big influence for me as a teacher. Theres been a lot of Rabbis though. I met him when I was really young, and I went into a Jewish bookstore to buy one of my co founders a star of David. When I went to school, I didnt look very affluent. And he comes right up to me and talks to me as if I was a prince. And it really stood out to me, and how impartial he was as a rabbi. And he asked if he could mentor me. Ever since then hes been giving me wise council.

Did any Jewish business leaders serve as a mentor to you when you were first starting your career in business?

Yeah Haim Saban was a big one. I met Haim Saban at a Milken conference here in LA, and he has been a big role model and mentor. Doctor Richard Erlich has been like a father to me. Hes the top neurologist at UCLA hospital and is an incredible mentor of mine.

What business endeavor of yours right now is providing you the most spiritual fulfillment that you really feel good about?

My technology businesses. Because I feel like technology just like Torah brings us together. I have over a dozen tech companies that I serve on as either a board member, or co founder and those are the most fulfilling for me.

What do you like most about them?

They are the catalyst for change. For example, I have a social media business that connects people through music. Its called revo.fm. King David played the harp and my modern day harp is this social media music sharing app, its very similar. Music is a great connector of people. And so thats something very special for me. I have an Artificial Intelligence business that helps businesses make better decisions. And right now businesses are struggling because of the Covid-19 crisis. Its sweeping the world. So helping small businesses is very important to me as well. So, I find technology to be the catalyst for change.

What do you see as Judaisms role with so much technological upheaval and advancement happening?

Technological upheaval does nothing to Hashems plan, and Hashems word. And I feel that all the technological upheaval in the world is not greater than Hashem. And so, Hashems plan will continue.

Its natural progression that fits within a pre existing framework.

Absolutely.

Youve said in interviews, there was a period in your younger years when you were homeless. Did any Jewish teachings or religious scholars help you get through this period?

Ive really liked reading rabbinical studies through Chabad and I have many of those books in my backpack when I was homeless in Brooklyn. Its hard to imagine having the mental strength I had without those studies, those teachings from the rabbinical community. All my Chabad books helped me greatly.

Theres so much uncertainty in the world right now. Theres a lot of fear with Coronavirus and even before that politics became so divided. How do you think the Torahs teachings can help us heal?

The Torah can give us perspective. As you know, as we live these brief lives, our lives are like asteroids or comets in the night sky, very brief is our human life. And the Torah gives us perspective that our life is very brief but Hashem created the universe. The Torah gives us perspective beyond our years, beyond our lives. I read once that the average human life is around 27,000 days. Think about that perspective. 27,000 days, its not very long at all. And if you think about Hashem and what hes done throughout all time, it obviously supersedes 27,000 days. So it gives us a perspective and a confidence beyond our own.

How do you continue to give back to the Jewish community, whether its philanthropy or volunteering or mentoring?

I do a lot of volunteering in the community with a primary focus on actively building schools. Im also very active and available for students who are learning Torah, and I seek to be a much larger contributor to Israel. I aspire to be a leader like my heroes David Geffen, Haim Saban and Arnon Milchan have gone before me as entrepreneurs.

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How Spirituality and Jewish Values Informed Lucas Asher's Business Success - The Jewish Voice

‘Four Last Things’ Spiritual Successor ‘The Procession to Calvary’ Hits Desktop April 9th with Mobile Versions in the Works – Touch Arcade

Back in 2016 developer Joe Richardson submitted a game to Game Jolts Adventure Jam called Four Last Things, which took famous Renaissance Era paintings and public domain classical music and repurposed them into a humorous, Monty Python-esque point-and-click adventure game. The game jam submission was fleshed out into a full-fledged release thanks to fan support via a successful Kickstarter campaign, and it was released on Steam in early 2017. About a year later Four Last Things was released for mobile and we enjoyed that version quite a bit in our review from back then. Now after another successful Kickstarter about a year and a half ago, a spiritual successor was put into motion called The Procession to Calvary. If you enjoyed everything about Four Last Things and were craving more of it, that appears to be exactly what this will deliver. Check out the trailer.

The Procession to Calvary is described as a spiritual successor instead of a sequel because, while it does take place in the same universe as Four Last Things, its a totally independent story and you dont have to have played Four Last Things to understand or enjoy this game. It will also contain a feature called Optional Murder" which will allow you to use your sword to instantly kill people in the game as a way of bypassing certain puzzles. However, you cant just go around murdering all willy nilly without there being some sort of consequences. It sounds like yet another really entertaining experience from this clever developer, and if youre a PC gamer type you can actually get your hands on The Procession to Calvary when it launches on desktop April 9th. A mobile version will follow shortly after" though, and well give you a heads up when the date for that is announced.

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'Four Last Things' Spiritual Successor 'The Procession to Calvary' Hits Desktop April 9th with Mobile Versions in the Works - Touch Arcade

Online group meets regularly to pray the Rosary to nourish spiritual and mental needs of community – Catholic Leader

Rosary: The Church is more than the buildings and the clergy, (the people) are as much a part of it, just as important as the buildings and the institution.

CHURCHES closed their doors in accordance with Federal Government health advice last week but that has not stopped local Catholics congregating in online communities to pray the Rosary together.

Jeremy Fraser, who was a member of Surfers Paradise parish, led one of these groups.

The Rosary, and groups like this, I think are so important, Mr Fraser said.

Mr Fraser said it was as much about nourishing the spiritual life as it was about easing the psychological side of isolation.

He said it was important just to show people theyre not alone.

Its a good way of fostering community, he said.

The Church is more than the buildings and the clergy, (the people) are as much a part of it, just as important as the buildings and the institution.

Mr Fraser joined regularly in virtual sessions of five to seven people to say the Rosary.

The group only started last week in response to COVID-19 but had already grown from three members to 17.

The group was a cross-section of ages from people in their late 30s to seniors aged in their 70s and 80s, he said.

The groups goal was to meet up a few times a week.

He said he loved to say the Rosary and prayed it regularly as a member of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity and Holy Rosary Confraternity run by the Dominican Friars.

Mr Fraser said he hoped the Rosary group could continue to grow into the future as the impact of coronavirus was set to grow.

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Online group meets regularly to pray the Rosary to nourish spiritual and mental needs of community - Catholic Leader

‘People Are Coming to Us Saying, I Need Hope’: Fighting on the Front Lines of Spiritual Awakening – Christianheadlines.com

'People Are Coming to Us Saying, I Need Hope': Fighting on the Front Lines of Spiritual Awakening

The Civil War ended 155 years ago next month. World War II ended 75 years ago this fall.

In the midst of both horrific conflicts, a spiritual war was being waged as well.

During the Civil War, revival services were common on both sides. Nightly prayer meetings were held in many regiments; tent meetings were filled to overflowing. A Confederate chaplain noted that scores of men are converted immediately after great battles. A Pennsylvania soldier wrote, The fact that I must die became to me living and real.

A Wall Street Journal article notes that after World War II, Americans, chastened by the horrors of war, turned to faith in search of truth and meaning. In the late 1940s, Gallup surveys showed more than three-quarters of Americans were members of a house of worship, compared with about half today. Congress added the words under God to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. Some would later call this a Third Great Awakening.

We are fighting a war today that is just as real as those deadly conflicts.

At a news briefing yesterday, President Trump stated that the peak in death rate in the pandemic is likely to hit in two weeks and announced that the federal government is extending its social-distancing guidelines through April 30.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US governments foremost infectious disease expert, said yesterday that the US could experience millions of cases of COVID-19 and between one hundred thousand and two hundred thousand deaths in the US based on what were seeing now.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, also said Sunday that the administration is asking every single governor and every single mayor to prepare like New York is preparing now. She added, No state, no metro area will be spared.

In the face of this crisis, Americans are responding to the coronavirus pandemic in remarkably creative ways.

Some are holding virtual dinner parties. In one, eight households from Nashville to Chicago participated; everyone made pasta with red sauce. A Maryland woman is giving a daily thirty-minute cello concert on her front porch to reconnect with her neighbors.

Teachers are staging car parades where their students live; one in Dallas made national headlines. A couple forced to downsize their wedding was greeted after the ceremony by a parade of guests who were unable to attend.

Members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra gave a socially distanced performance of Aaron Coplands Appalachian Spring that I encourage you to hear. And the Nashville Studio Singer Community created a virtual cell phone choir to deliver one of the most stirring performances of It Is Well with My Soul that I have ever heard.

What can Christians uniquely do to serve our world and our Lord in these critical days?

I believe that this unprecedented crisis presents the most unprecedented opportunity for spiritual awakening in my lifetime. As with the Civil War and World War II, the fact of mortality is more obvious for more of us than ever before. A deadly disease that anyone can get is a deadly disease everyone can get.

Could it be that God would redeem this global medical outbreak by using it to spark a global spiritual outbreak? Could he be calling his people to the front lines of this spiritual battle?

2 Chronicles 7:14 is a familiar text to most of us. It ends with Gods promise to heal their land, the miracle we need today. What precedes this blessing?

The text states: If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. We must humble ourselves, admitting that we need what only God can give us. Then we praythe Hebrew word describes collective prayer for divine favor. To seek my face points to a personal, passionate engagement with the Lord. To turn from their wicked ways is to repent of sins that the first three acts have revealed.

The Lord willing, I will explore each of these steps with you across my morning Daily Articlesthis week. For today, lets begin by making a covenant together that we will earnestly seek the spiritual awakening we urgently need.

To that end, well close today with some good news: the global pandemic is sparking global interest in the good news of Gods love.

Global Media Outreach (GMO) was founded in 2004 by my longtime friend, Walt Wilson. This year, they will reach the milestone moment of sharing the gospel with 2 billion people. They have seen more than 223 million people respond positively to the message of faith and hope in Christ. Their 3,500 online missionaries disciple people with spiritual needs in 50 languages.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, GMO has gone from reaching 350,000 people per day to upwards of 500,000 globally. A GMO leader told the Christian Post, People are coming to us saying, I need hope. Where can I find hope in the face of tragedy, anxiety, bankruptcy?' He added, When people are in pain, we offer encouragement and hope. Theyre coming to us looking for answers.

Im praying for God to redeem this pandemic by advancing a spiritual awakening that will bring millions to the hope and answers found in Christ. Will you join me?

Publication date: March 30, 2020

Photo courtesy: GettyImages/Kieferpix

For more from the Denison Forum, please visit http://www.denisonforum.org.

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'People Are Coming to Us Saying, I Need Hope': Fighting on the Front Lines of Spiritual Awakening - Christianheadlines.com

Religion and Spirituality Books Preview: April 2020 – Publishers Weekly

Essays on power, influence, and autonomy in The Myth of the American Dream, a look into the life of a gay priest, and How to Not be a Hot Mess are some of the books coming from religion and spirituality publishers in April.

Nonfiction

Apr. 1

And the Prophet Said: Kahlil Gibrans Classic Text with Newly Discovered Writings, edited by Dalton Hilu Einhorn (Hampton Roads, $14.95 paper, ISBN 978-1-64297-016-6). Kahlil Gibran scholar Einhorn introduces the spiritualists classic The Prophet alongside 150 previously unpublished poems, aphorisms, and sayings.

Back Pocket God: Religion and Spirituality in the Lives of Emerging Adults by Melinda Lundquist Denton and Richard Flory (Oxford Univ., $29.95, ISBN 978-0-19-006478-5). A massive research project tracking the religious inclinations of young people over the course of a decade concludes with this third volume.

Apr. 2

Reed of God by Caryll Houselander (Christian Classics, $13.95 paper, ISBN 978-0-87061-240-4). British Catholic writer and artist Houselander explores the humanity of Mary, Mother of God.

Earth, Our Original Monastery: Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude through Intimacy with Nature by Christine Valters Paintner (Sorin, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-932057-20-1). Paintner, abbess for Abbey of the Arts, shares how an appreciation for the natural world can make one more aware of the presence of God.

Apr. 4

The Myth of the American Dream: Reflections on Affluence, Autonomy, Safety, and Power by D.L. Mayfield (IVP, $22, ISBN 978-0-8308-4598-9). In essays grouped around affluence, autonomy, safety, and power, activist Mayfield questions if the American dream lives up to Jesuss command to love ones neighbor.

Apr. 7

American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country by Jack Jenkins (HarperOne, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-293598-4). Religion reporter Jenkins explores the foundations and evolution of progressive faith-based activism in the U.S.

Your Story Matters: Finding, Writing, and Living the Truth of Your Life by Leslie Leyland Fields (NavPress, $16.99 paper, ISBN 978-1-64158-219-3). Christian author Fields presents her spiritually focused writing techniques for processing ones past in order to live a more fulfilling life in the present.

In Unison: The Unfinished Story of Jeremy and Adrienne Camp by Jeremy and Adrienne Camp (Harvest House, $20 paper, ISBN 978-0-7369-8068-5). Grammy-nominated singer Camp and his wife, Adrienne, share biblically infused lessons from their years together.

Wiccan Kitchen: A Guide to Magical Cooking & Recipes by Lisa Chamberlain (Sterling, $16.95 paper, ISBN 978-1-4549-3470-7) collects Wiccan recipes, menus, and ideas for incorporating magical practices into cooking.

When Did We Start Forgetting God?: The Root of the Evangelical Crisis and Hope for the Future by Mark Galli (Tyndale House, $16.99 paper, ISBN 978-1-4143-7361-4). Galli, former editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, analyzes the state of evangelicalism and encourages readers to turn their attention away from the politics of the moment to consider what has changed in contemporary spirituality.

A Woman Called Moses: A Prophet for Our Time by Jean-Christophe Attias (Verso, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-78873-639-8). Attias, a professor at the Sorbonne in Paris, follows the metamorphoses of Moses through ages and cultures and draws on rabbinical sources, as well as the Bible itself, to examine what he calls a fragile prophet.

Part-Time Is Plenty: Thriving Without Full-Time Clergy by G. Jeffrey MacDonald (Westminster John Knox, $22 paper, ISBN 978-0-664-26599-1). Journalist and part-time pastor MacDonald considers how to run effective ministries with just half- or quarter-time professional ministers.

Apr. 10

Missionaries, Converts, and Rabbis: The Evangelical Alexander McCaul and Jewish-Christian Debate in the Nineteenth Century by David B. Ruderman (Univ. of Pennsylvania, $55, ISBN 978-0-8122-5214-9). Ruderman, professor of modern Jewish History at the University of Pennsylvania, details the life and work of evangelical missionary Alexander McCaul (17991863), who was sent to Warsaw by the London Society for the Promotion of Christianity Amongst the Jews.

Apr. 14

Christianity: A Historical Atlas, edited by Alec Ryrie, maps by Malcolm Swanston (Harvard Univ., $35, ISBN 978-0-674-24235-7). Historian Ryrie and cartographer Swanston depict the rise and spread of Christianity from its origins to the present day through more than 100 color maps.

Crystal Zodiac: An Astrological Guide to Enhancing Your Life with Crystals by Katie Huang (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $20, ISBN 978-0-358-21304-8) breaks down the benefits of crystal healing and astrology, showing how the two can work together to prioritize mindfulness.

Once a Shooter: Redemption of a High School Gunman by T.J. Stevens (Salem, $22.99, ISBN 978-1-68451-019-1). Stevens, who walked into a high school in Burke, Va., with a rifle in 1982, explores the epiphanic transformation that stopped him from carrying out his planned execution of nine hostages and then himself. Book royalties will be donated to a charity that hosts events for troubled teens.

Bewitching the Elements: A Guide to Empowering Yourself Through Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit by Gabriela Herstik (TarcherPerigee, $15 paper, ISBN 978-0-593-08621-6). Nylon columnist Herstik aims to empower readers by connecting to the five elements through meditation, breath work, tarot, crystals, rituals, and journaling.

Apr. 15

Confessions of a Gay Priest: A Memoir of Sex, Love, Abuse, and Scandal in the Catholic by Tom Rastrelli (Univ. of Iowa, $19.95 paper, ISBN 978-1-60938-709-9). Rastrelli, a survivor of clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse, explores the secretive inner workings of the seminary, providing an intimate and unapologetic look into the dynamics of celibacy and the cycle of abuse and cover-up.

Saving History: How White Evangelicals Tour the Nations Capital and Redeem a Christian America by Lauren R. Kerby (Univ. of North Carolina, $22 paper, ISBN 978-1-4696-5877-3). Kerby, education specialist at Harvard Divinity School, tells of her trips on tour buses through Washington, D.C., alongside white evangelicals searching for evidence that America was founded as a Christian nation.

Apr. 17

The Lonely Letters by Ashon T. Crawley (Duke Univ., $24.95 paper, ISBN 978-1-4780-0824-8) is an epistolary critique of current society through a black, queer lens. Crawley meditates on the interrelation of black and queer life with the black church, theology, and mysticism.

Apr. 21

Grace Guide: Live Your One Beautiful Life by Susie Davis (Abingdon, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-5018-9842-6). Davis presents a spiritual guide for women designed as biblically grounded reflections on memories both good and bad, including challenges such as writing a letter to ones younger self.

Madame Clairevoyants Guide to the Stars: Astrology, Our Icons, and Our Selves by Claire Comstock-Gay (Harper, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-291333-3). New York magazine columnist Comstock-Gay explores how the 12 astrological signs are embodied by celebrities, including Aretha Franklin and Fred Rogers, to reveal what the sky has to teach about being human.

How to Meditate Like a Buddhist by Cynthia Kane (Hierophant, $16.95 paper, ISBN 978-1-950253-00-5). Meditation instructor Kane guides readers through aspects of meditation technique, including posture, breathing, and mind-set.

Apr. 28

Coming Home to Yourself: A Meditators Guide to Blissful Living by Osho (Harmony, $15.99 paper, ISBN 978-1-984826-81-7). Spiritual teacher Osho collects mindfulness exercises for relaxation and finding inner peace.

Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World by Tara Isabella Burton (PublicAffairs, $28, ISBN 978-1-5417-6253-4). Burton, a columnist at Religion News Service, tours contemporary forms of American spirituality by looking at personal faiths that mix ritualistic, personal, and political practices.

Tara: The Liberating Power of the Female Buddha by Rachael Wooten (Sounds True, $17.99 paper, ISBN 978-1-68364-388-3). Psychologist Wooten presents a guide for channeling the power of Tara, the female Buddhist deity of Tibet. Included are meditation instructions and Tibetan Buddhist teachings.

How Not to Be a Hot Mess: A Survival Guide for Modern Life by Craig Hase and Devon Hase (Shambhala, $18.95, ISBN 978-1-61180-798-1) offers Buddhist-inspired advice for staying grounded in a chaotic world, from a candid husband-and-wife team.

Fiction

Apr. 21

Englisch Daughter by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall (Waterbrook, $15.99 paper, ISBN 978-0-7352-9102-7). A marriage is tested in this Old Order Amish novel featuring a dedicated wife who realizes her husband has squandered their savings and has been hiding a child with another woman

Apr. 28

Being Known by Robin Jones Gunn (Multnomah, $15.99 paper, ISBN 978-0-7352-9077-8). Jennalyn begins to doubt her marriage and all her other life choices after her mother dies. She must ask hard questions of herself and God to find answers.

Promise at Pebble Creek by Lisa Jones Baker (Zebra, $7.99 mass market, ISBN 978-1-4201-4748-3). Amish Hannah Lapp dreams about a different life and secretly writes novels about the Englisch world. When Chicagoan Marcus Jackson visits her familys store, Hannahs world is changed by their friendship.

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Religion and Spirituality Books Preview: April 2020 - Publishers Weekly

Why Donald Trump is a threat to the United States’ spiritual well-being – ABC News

Many Americans are beginning to realise that President Donald Trump poses a grave threat to public health and well-being. Thankfully, public health experts are sounding the alarm, and at least one public radio station has decided not to live broadcast his misleading and dangerous coronavirus briefings. Even the threat that Trump poses to the nations mental health has been well documented. But Trump also poses a grave moral and spiritual hazard to the American people a danger that has so far gone unnamed and unappreciated.

Others have written about the immediate threat he poses to American lives, first by minimising the threat of COVID-19 and, most recently, by signalling that he plans to reopen the economy against the advice of his own public health officials. Months of inaction have exacerbated the scale of the crisis.

But the spiritual threat he poses has passed unrecognised. Trumps casual cruelty, mendacity and consuming self-interest can corrode confidence in human capacities for kindness, candour and compassion. In times of crisis, a divided nation customarily rallies together and gives expression to the better angels of our nature. Those who recall the immediate aftermath of 9/11 can testify to the tangible care Americans extended to each other. We looked each other in the eye, greeted each other in public and looked after each other. Our public leaders, however flawed, and even talk show hosts exhibited vulnerability and care. This mood of tenderness, however short-lived and drowned out by the drumbeats of war, mattered because it ennobled us. We knew we had suffered a shared loss and that we belonged to each other.

Things are different this time around because the loudest public figure in our nation daily runs roughshod over basic norms of truth telling, decency and empathy. Crass monetary calculations and insistent demands for fealty and adulation from the nations governors these remain his consuming obsessions. His insistence that lifesaving stay-at-home measures are a cure that is worse than the disease is just one flagrant example of wanton disregard for human life.

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There is a real time cost to being subjected to this constant onslaught of moral degradation. Rather than a bully pulpit that might rouse the nation to mutual aid and sacrifice, the President and his acolytes invite the nations grandparents to stand ready to die for the sake of the economy. Divisiveness and derision now set the tone of our common life.

Daily exposure to such debasement, whether by tweet or by briefing, raises dispiriting questions: Is this the best our nations leader can do? Is there in him any redeemable character trait that can serve as a beacon of light in an otherwise dark and deadly situation? Under the cumulative barrage of lies and life-threatening misinformation, the questions morph and become broader. Rather than ask about just about one mans peculiar degradation, we begin to wonder about human nature itself. Are some human beings irredeemable, incapable of learning and growth? Are we nave, even foolish, to expect human beings to set aside self-interest and rise to responsibilities thrust upon them by extraordinary times? Under the relentless of assault of his pettiness, we are rendered vulnerable to rage, cynicism and a subtle, pervasive lowering of moral expectations for ourselves and others.

Breathing in spiritual pollution is akin to the breathing in air pollution in New Delhi. Just as air pollutants harm lung capacities, so too our spiritual capacities, love, resilience, trust and confidence in human goodness are diminished by constant exposure to such spiritual toxins as hubris, venality and hate.

No wonder, then, that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has become a stand-in President for many who look for a leader who projects competence, empathy and compassion. New Yorkers know all too well that Cuomo is no saint. But he consistently sets a spiritual and moral tone of decency and dignity and has thereby restored a measure of confidence in our leaders and, more importantly, in ourselves.

But we neednt look to Cuomo alone. Instead, call to mind the number 76,000 that is the number of volunteers who have answered Governor Cuomos call to join the frontlines in the struggle against COVID-19. Many have come out of retirement and so are in the age bracket most vulnerable to this disease; nevertheless, they have stepped forward bravely.

We are inclined to believe that heroic goodness is found only in a handful of extraordinary people like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mother Teresa, but it seems that New York State alone has 76,000 Mother Teresas. Truth be told, that is a vast undercount. After all, those of us who are sheltering at home do so because we too want our neighbours to be safe and healthy. This too is a form of quotidian kindness, an unheralded and humble heroism.

The worlds wisdom traditions offer theological accounts of what enables such generosity. Christians affirm that human beings bear the imago dei the image of God a mark of divine grace that orients and impels us toward love. Most Christian communities hold that sin cannot altogether erase this original created goodness. Buddhists affirm that human beings indeed, all sentient beings bear the Buddha-nature which is the ground of innate wisdom and compassion. We do fall into ignorance, but our primordial nature abides.

These traditions testify that we need not give up on ourselves and on others, that despite appearances to the contrary, there is far more love and kindness in the world than hate and cruelty. The callous deeds of a few in prominent places need not drive us into despair about our neighbours and ourselves. We would do well to listen to and learn from one of our lesser known contemporary theologians, Governor Andrew Cuomo himself, who reminded us recently, And at the end of the day, my friends, even if it is a long day, and this is a long day, love wins. Always.

John J. Thatamanil is Associate Professor of Theology and World Religions at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Circling the Elephant: A Comparative Theology of Religious Diversity.

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Why Donald Trump is a threat to the United States' spiritual well-being - ABC News

Bishop tests negative, urges all to care for physical and spiritual health – Crux: Covering all things Catholic

RICHMOND, Virginia Acknowledging the extraordinary measures people need to take to remain physically healthy during the coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond told the people of his diocese they need to be mindful of their spiritual health.

We also confront a spiritual danger one of fear, anxiety, anger, frustration and possibly even despair. This danger is caused by our interior response to an external threat to our life, culture, work and home, he said during his homily at a private Mass livestreamed from the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart March 22.

As we confront this threat to our well-being, it is important to remember that we must attend to our spiritual as well as our physical health, he added. Both are interrelated and one affects the other.

The day after the Mass the bishop learned he had tested negative for the coronavirus. On March 14, he went into self-isolation out of care and caution because he had a minor cold after returning from two weeks of traveling around the diocese. On his doctors recommendation, Knestout visited a health care facility March 19 to be tested for the flu and COVID-19.

At the time of the livestreamed Mass, Knestout had not yet received the negative test result, so he did not celebrate the Mass but delivered his homily from a side chapel in the cathedral The Mass was concelebrated by the dioceses vicar general, Father Michael Boehling, and the cathedral rector, Father Anthony Marques.

In his homily, the bishop spoke about the conflict between the natural desire in times of uncertainty to draw close to one another in a communal setting, and yet to remain physically distant from one another due to COVID-19.

This conflict between the attraction of love and the caution of fear creates tension within and anxiety, he said. What is appropriate and what is an overreaction? What is prudent and what is complacent? What is the remedy then to this emotional and spiritual conflict within us?

Amid calls to distance, we must still remember charity and the command to respond to the needs of the vulnerable, weak and the poor, he said. Isolation can be as dangerous to life as a virus is. Lets not allow the anxiety about the virus to keep us from expressing charity to those in need.

Knestout said that technology provides people an opportunity to ensure charity, even at a distance.

Each of us can plan to contact 10 people each day, to encourage them, listen to them, find out if they have any needs, if they are struggling with any difficulties, he said. Once we know of these needs, with courage we should act, to seek out ways to help and remedy their need. We can do so with right judgment, with prudence.

Knestout said prayer is the key to all that the faith community does.

In a time when we are fearful of a new virus threatening lives, and we need to socially distance ourselves from one another to safeguard each others health, our faith allows us to see this time of isolation and anxiety, as an occasion for drawing close to God in solitude and prayer, he said.

Prior to the conclusion of Mass, Knestout consecrated the diocese to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Olszewski is the editor of The Catholic Virginian, newspaper of the Diocese of Richmond.

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Bishop tests negative, urges all to care for physical and spiritual health - Crux: Covering all things Catholic

Making Sense of Meditation: Religion and Spirituality – Psychiatric Times

Most of us in the mental health professions would agree with the following statements:

Religion and spirituality are important, even central concerns for a large portion of the population

Many people insist that their religious and/or spiritual practices help them cope with the inescapable vicissitudes of life

It has long been recognized that some psychiatric conditions can involve religious preoccupations and alleged spiritual experiences

Over the last 50 years meditation practicesgenerally inherited from various religious traditionshave become widely accepted as beneficial for management of stress and have been increasingly adopted by the mental health community as a treatment modality

In view of these observations you would think that psychiatrists would be well-versed in these topics, but the reality is that they are barely touched upon during our training and we are given very little guidance as to how to respond when our patients raise religious or spiritual concerns. Since meditation can be practiced without reference to the religious traditions that transmitted various techniques to us we can feel comfortable recommending it to our patients. But when it comes to relating to the larger questions about life, the nature of suffering, the inevitability of death, etc, we generally have no idea how to proceed.

Recent articles in Psychiatric Times give us several examples of attempts to address these topics. The May 2019 issue presented an interview of Dr Paul Summergard by Dr Lloyd Sederer, Spirituality in the Psychiatric Office, in which Dr Summergard shares his experience and suggests a general attitude to adopt when patients bring up religious concerns. In more recent issues, Dr John Miller shared two editorials exploring the clinical applications of mindfulness practice, Be Here Now, and Mindfulness.

Since our profession has no agreed-upon body of knowledge about the relationship of religion and spirituality to mental illness and mental health, it makes sense that those of us who present ourselves as having something useful to say should establish some sort of credentials. Dr Summergard mentioned that he did a number of years of intensive Zen meditation, and Dr Miller recounts extensive experience with a meditation tradition derived from the Theravadan Buddhist tradition, including a 3-month silent meditation retreat. Both doctors commented on the impact these experiences had on their personal as well as professional lives. So, their credentials for holding forth on these topics consist of substantial experience with meditation practice as taught by two different Buddhist traditions, exposure to the intellectual content of these traditions, and on their perception that these experiences had a significant impact on their personal lives as well as their practice of psychiatry.

In this column I propose to present a framework for understanding the basic psychological mechanisms involved in the practice of mindfulness meditation, which may clarify why it is helpful in many different situations. But if I am going to pontificate on these weighty matters, I too must establish my credentials.

I was raised in a completely secular Jewish family, with virtually no exposure to even a secular Jewish social environment. I entered medical school with the intention of going into psychiatry. In my fourth year I stumbled on the book Psychotherapy East and West by Alan Watts, one of the first well-known Western proponents of Zen Buddhism, which piqued my interest in Buddhism as a psychological system. To make a long story short, I followed a path similar to that of Drs Summergard and MillerI took a year off between my rotating internship and psychiatric residency to engage in intensive meditation and study of Buddhism, then another block of time after my residency, after which I settled down into my career and raising a family.

The particular tradition I connected with was Tibetan Buddhism as taught by Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Lama who founded numerous meditation centers as well as Naropa University in Boulder, CO, which to this day offers a Masters degree in Eastern and Western Psychology. Along the way I did a 1-month meditation retreat, a 10-day solo meditation retreat in an isolated cabin, and a 3-month program with Chogyam Trungpa that involved extensive meditation practice as well as a systematic presentation of the history and formal teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. After my residency I spent 3 months at a meditation center in which I experienced a novel meditation system created by Trungpa in collaboration with Suzuki Roshi, a well-known Zen teacher. The system was based on methods used in Tibetan and Japanese Buddhist monasteries to help stabilize monks who developed serious psychological issues or psychosis in the course of intensive meditation practice.

Trungpa presented the Buddhist tradition to us, a modern American audience, as a psychological system. He made it clear that we did not need to accept anything on faith and stated explicitly that we need not accept any teachings that we could not confirm by our own personal experience. In that environment there were many individuals who enthusiastically accepted the religious aspect of the teachings, which is to say the traditional teachings about the nature of the universe, what happens after death, and so on. As a scientifically trained person from a totally secular background I had some discomfort about these issues. A small incident put my mind at ease: a young man asked Trungpa a question, Everything you have taught us is great, I love all the stuff about meditation . . . but I have to be honest . . . I have a lot of trouble with this whole reincarnation thing. Trungpa replied, For you, sir, reincarnation is waking up in the morning. Dont worry about the rest.

In the spirit of transparency, everything I will say is derived from what I learned through both study and meditation practice in those particular settings. I am not a scholar in these matters, nor can I pretend to be a highly accomplished meditator or teacher. Nevertheless, these experiences were transformative on a personal level, giving me the capacity to cope with extreme stress at various points in my life with a degree of equanimity that would not have been possible previously. They also had a profound effect on my work as a psychiatrist, in particular giving me a wider context in which to understand my patients struggles. I have found that when patients bring up religious or spiritual concerns I am completely at ease conversing with them in a way that is appropriate for that individual, which would have been impossible in my natural state as a person with no exposure whatsoever to religious practices.

When I deal with psychotic people reporting apparent spiritual experiences, I find that I can often understand what it is they are trying to describe and respond in a reassuring way that acknowledges their experience. Dont get me wrongI also give them an antipsychotic. But there is great value in meeting people where they are at, so to speak. I ascribe whatever ability I have developed to deal with these issues effectively to a combination of my personal experiences in the course of meditation practice, but equally to having been given a systematic intellectual framework for understanding the nature of spiritual experiences altogether, and their relationship to our normal mental state as well as to mental illness.

So much for credentials. Now let us turn to the narrow topic of mindfulness meditation. First, what do we mean by the word meditation? Lots of my patients tell me that they meditate, but on further questioning most of them are talking about guided meditation recordingswhich in reality is akin to hypnosisor perhaps they do a few minutes of chanting a mantra in a yoga class. To be sure, these activities can be very beneficial for stress management, sleep, and so on, but they are not meditation. Mindfulness meditation has robust stress-management benefits, but that is somewhat of a side effect. Its primary purpose, interestingly, is to mitigate our habitual mental patterns, which in Western psychology we have conceptualizedat least in previous generationsas neurosis.

Broadly speaking there are two types of meditation practiceconcentration techniques and mindfulnessawareness techniques. Concentration techniques involve focusing ones mind on a single objecta candle, a picture, a thought, a sound or mantra, part of the body, pretty much anything. If practiced sufficiently this type of meditation produces trance statesstates of altered consciousness that can be intense and at times ecstatic. The intensity of these experiences is often interpreted as evidence that this is real spirituality and can motivate people to pursue them even more vigorously. There are numerous elaborate traditions utilizing these types of practices. However, there are distinct dangers to taking these techniques to extremes, and they should only be practiced under the close supervision of a knowledgeable guide.

Mindfulness meditation, on the other hand, can be described as a simple technique for observing our own mental processes in granular detail. The usual instruction is to sit upright without a backrestmostly so we will start to fall over if we doze off, which keeps us awake (meditation can be boring). The tradition is to sit cross-legged on a cushion. There is no particular reason to adopt a lotus posture or anything else uncomfortablethis is not about overcoming pain. If you are of a certain age, by all means sit on a chair. Most traditions instruct us to close our eyes, but I was taught to meditate with eyes open. The explanation we were given was that if we close our eyes it is too easy to space out and get lost in our thoughts.

The meditative technique itself is usually to turn our attention on the breath. Easy! The trouble is, after about a microsecond . . . blah, blah, blahwe are talking to ourselves. There are numerous variations and nuances in the instructions given by different traditions and different teachers on how to handle this grasshopper quality of our minds. The technique I learned was that as soon as we realize we are not on our breaths we literally say to ourselves thinking, and gently return attention to our breath. At some point we inevitably get frustrated, thinking, I cant do this, this is ridiculous, Im leaving. At that point . . . back to your breath.

A couple of comments about breath. There is nothing mystical about itits just a convenient way to help us stay in the present moment. Then there is the question of how intensely to focus on the breath. A traditional teaching story tells of a student of the Buddha, a famous musician, who asked the Buddha how intensely to focus his attention. The Buddha asked him how tightly he adjusted the strings on his instrument. The student replied, Not too tight, and not too loose, or the sound will be no good. The Buddha said, Just so. Your focus on your breath should be not too tight, and not too loose. That is, if we make no effort, we dont focus at all on the breath and no progress will be made. But if we get too intense about it, it can turn into a concentration technique focused on the breath, which is definitely not what is intended. If that starts to happen, a competent meditation instructor will tell us to lighten up, maybe look around a little, shift our positionthen come back to the breath.

There is no such thing as not being able to meditate. This statement requires some explanation, which brings us to the discussion of what this meditation technique actually accomplishes.

As we move around in the world and encounter things, or as we sit on the cushion and encounter things in our mind, there are three reflexive impulses that can occur. If the object or thought makes us feel good, confirmed, safe, we want to pull it in, build it up, make it last longer. If it is threatening or uncomfortable, we want to push it away, destroy it. And if it is neither confirming nor threatening, we ignore it. Consequently, we tend to ignore 99% of everything that crosses our awareness. In traditional meditation texts these three impulses are known as the Three PoisonsPassion, Aggression, and Ignorancethe obstacles to successful meditation practice. The meaning of these three words in daily life is obvious: Passion: love, greed, obsession, addiction; Aggression: anger, cruelty, destructiveness; Ignorance: maybe . . . cluelessness? From the point of view of evolutionary psychology, these three impulses are completely natural and highly adaptive: we are attracted to what makes us feel good, we are repelled by what makes us feel bad, and we dont waste energy on the rest.

But in this case, we are not talking about our behavior in the world, rather we are talking about these three impulses as our reflexive reactions to each moment-to-moment thought. What we are being instructed to do when we sit down to meditate is very simple, very difficult, and quite unnaturalwe are being asked to do none of the above. That is, whatever thought comes along, we are instructed to neither cultivate it, nor drive it away . . . nor ignore it. We are asked to simply notice it and come back to the breath.

Initially we are terrible at this. We get lost in a sexual fantasy, or business plans, or political tooth-gnashing. Oh yeah, back to the breath! We obsess about that time we were humiliated, and what we should have said. Back to the breath! But if we persist, little by little, we begin to relax into our own thoughts. They never go awaywe are explicitly not trying to make that happenbut we begin to spend more and more time just watching them come and go, without building them up or pushing them away, and without ignoring them.

This process can be characterized as developing an attitude of equanimity toward our own thoughts. Over time, somewhat magically, we notice that as we move about in the world and stuff comes up, we are less reactive. Something that would have left us upset all day becomes less of a big deal. Some compulsion that we would ordinarily find irresistible becomes less compelling. We begin to feel calmer overall, clearer, and with more freedom to deal with what comes up in whatever way seems bestas opposed to endlessly repeating dysfunctional habitual patterns. These emotional and behavioral changes are gradual and spontaneous.

That is why I say there is no such thing as not being able to meditate. I view it like doing pushups. If we resolve to start exercising with pushups, and we cant do even one, we start with half a pushup. If we work out regularly, eventually we can knock off a whole bunch of pushups. It just takes patience and practice. Thats why we call this activity meditation practice. At this level it is a very simple training program, whose goal could also be described as the art of not taking our own thoughts too seriously.

With this model in mind it becomes clearer why meditation practice can be helpful in so many clinical situations, and why the average person with no identified conditions may find it beneficial. It is also noteworthy that the benefit is not dependent on adopting any particular philosophy or spiritual teaching. The benefits of meditation are a spontaneous result of gradually changing the nature of our relationship to our own thought process.

This model of meditation practice is very simple, yet very fundamental. Along the way I have alluded to a number of far more complex issues. What is the distinction between religion and spirituality? What do we mean by the term spiritual experience? What is the nature of the transformative experiences hallucinogenic drugs can sometimes produce, and what about the religious preoccupations and spiritual experiences of some of our patients? And, what does meditation practice have to do with all of this?

Buddhist psychology provides a comprehensive framework that can illuminate the relationship of these disparate phenomena. Interestingly, it is all about egoa concept that is also at the core of Western psychological thinking. In a future article, I will try to summarize the basic model of the Buddhist psychological tradition in terms that are understandable to students of the Western psychological tradition.

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Making Sense of Meditation: Religion and Spirituality - Psychiatric Times

Students report on the impact of COVID-19 on religion and spirituality – USC News

On Sunday, March 15, USC Annenberg MS in journalism student Hayley Smith was supposed to be reporting in Armenia but she wasnt. Then, she was supposed to be in Alabama but that didnt happen either. Instead, she went to two sparsely attended Masses in Los Angeles Roman Catholic churches, which were likely some of the last such services that will be held in Los Angeles for quite a while.

The people who came to church were just like people everywhere, Smith said. They were a little bit confused, some were overly confident, and a lot of people were frightened.

As the coronavirus pandemic tightened like a noose around the normal routines of life in the United States and around the world, the USC community has responded with steps to protect the well-being of students, faculty and staff. The experience of the students and faculty in one USC Annenberg graduate-level course, JOUR 585 Specialized Reporting: Religion, provides a window into how those measures have affected students and faculty and how the people of USC Annenberg have adapted to continue engaging with each other, and with the Los Angeles community.

A Miami native, Smith earned her bachelors degree in English from New York University, then worked in communications and marketing for some 10 years before deciding to switch career tracks to journalism.

I was originally drawn to environmental and climate stories, but throughout the course of my time at Annenberg, religion stories and stories about people of faith have continued to come up for me, Smith said.

Enrolling in the reporting on religion course, taught by Diane Winston and Alan Mittelstaedt, was a no-brainer for Smith.

Religion isnt a sexy topic for most journalism students, said Winston, associate professor and Knight Center Chair in Media & Religion. So, to sweeten the pot, the course includes an international trip to cover religion, politics and culture. Since launching it in 2010, with funding from the Luce Foundation, Winston has taken students to Israel/Palestine, India, Ireland, Greece, Indonesia and South Korea.

Winston says she and Mittelstaedt organized this years trip to Armenia with the assistance of the USC Dornsife Institute of Armenian Studies, with the intention of having students focus on the cultural and political impact of the Armenian Apostolic Church since the Velvet Revolution. Students also researched stories on prison chaplaincies, religious tourism and religion-inspired fashion. The class spent the first half of the semester reporting on the large Armenian diaspora community in Los Angeles, finding stories on religion and tattoo artists, folk dance and the LGBTQ+ community.

Even as COVID-19 continued its international spread throughout January and February, Winston held out hope that the trip could still happen. Then, on Feb. 28, she got word that USC had canceled all international travel.

Winston and Mittelstaedt, associate professor of professional practice, quickly pivoted to a domestic trip. Winston reached out to media contacts in Alabama and was excited by the reporting prospects. Within 10 days, the students had come up with and begun to report fabulous stories about Alabama, Winston said. The editors at both the Birmingham and Montgomery newspapers were very helpful, offering up both their ideas and newsrooms to us. It looked like it would be a really rich experience.

But when USC canceled all travel at the recommendation of the CDC and moved courses to online instruction, the professors and students pivoted again to look for local stories about communities of faith, spiritual but not religious outliers and the ways in which the virus is affecting ethical decision-making and spiritual sensibilities, Winston said. Smith recalls that Winston and Mittelstaedt compared covering coronavirus to being a war correspondent an idea that inspired her.

I want to talk to people, I want to see how people are feeling, she said. When Armenia got canceled and then when Alabama got canceled, they told us that, as journalists, things are going to happen. You might have to go somewhere at the drop of a hat. You have to be nimble and flexible. Its a teachable moment for us: Sometimes you just have to get out the door and go.

Smith says she had already been planning on covering coronavirus and the Catholic Church in Alabama. The Catholic Bishop of Birmingham had made an announcement a couple of weeks ago about eliminating the communal chalice during Mass, she said. So, when that got canceled, I was like, well, I feel like I can still do that story in Los Angeles.

After attending the 8 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels downtown and the 10 a.m. Mass at Our Mother of Good Counsel in Los Feliz both with very few parishioners present Smith wrote her article and turned it in to Winston and Mittelstaedt on Sunday evening. Winston floated several possible media outlets that might publish the piece; Smith thought Religion News Service would be the best fit. It all happened really quickly, Smith said.

Her piece, Prayer in the Time of Coronavirus, appeared the following day on the Religion News Service website. It was genius of her to go to the cathedral, because that is such a central icon for religion in Los Angeles, Winston said. It's also a place where so many people might go for sustenance and comfort at this time.

Winston says that Smith and her classmates have shown incredible resilience as the COVID-19 crisis has radically reshaped their experience with the course.

We have an incredible group of students this year, Winston said. I've never seen an entire class so motivated, so dedicated and so excited about journalism. Rather than give up in frustration, they keep looking for new ways to make this experience worthwhile for them. And I am inspired by their passion.

Coronavirus is going to be the religion story of our lives, Winston added. Deep questions about morality, mortality and metaphysics are going to be a part of every story on this pandemic. Who lives? Who dies? Who gets a ventilator? These are religious questions, ethical questions. We make moral decisions every time we walk out of our house now.

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Students report on the impact of COVID-19 on religion and spirituality - USC News

How Deepak Chopra Is Using This Time For A Spiritual Reset – mindbodygreen.com

In addition to thinking of others, Chopra is using this time to create what he calls "love in action." While we might tell our friends and family members that we love them, Chopra wants to take it a step further.

"We need to help all of us feel safe, help us all feel secure, help us all that we are engaging in love in action, not just love in theory," he says. "Love in action can create miracles."

Consider this the spiritual version of "show, don't tell." Chopra wants us to take action and care for others; in a time of social distancing, words can only do so muchit's the actions that truly make a difference.

That's not to say you should ignore the rules of a home quarantine. Chopra says there are ways to make sure those in need feel safe: "Use technologymake sure those in distress and those you care about know you can engage with them and help them in some way."

Whether it's providing resources or just offering a safe space to discuss fears, we can all take action to let the people around us know that we love them. After all, we are more connected than we thinkand the spiritual notion that "we are all one" is more important now than ever.

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How Deepak Chopra Is Using This Time For A Spiritual Reset - mindbodygreen.com

David Carlson: The spiritual challenge of the coronavirus – Daily Journal

In 2007, while I was conducting interviews for a book project, I visited the Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown, Kentucky. My goal was to interview the monks who had known the famous monk Thomas Merton as their novice master or teacher back in the 1960s.

While I was there, something strange happened. I noticed an elderly monk who wasnt on my interview list but who kept peeking around the corner and looking at me. Finally, he knocked on my door in the guesthouse and asked if we could talk.

Although I listened politely, what he told me sounded so wacky that I immediately decided that his comments wouldnt be included in my book. But I did let him continue. According to what hed been told, an Irish woman was receiving direct messages from Jesus. According to the monk, over a period of time, Jesus had told the Irish woman that a great spiritual awakening was coming to the world.

My first thought was that the monk had dementia, and I forgot about our strange conversation until five years had passed. In 2012, I was visiting another monastery, this one on the shore of Lake Superior in Michigans Upper Peninsula. I was actually returning to this monastery to thank the monks for letting me interview them back in 2007 for the book.

The community in the Upper Peninsula was small, consisting of five monks. After dinner together, we retired to the monasterys library, where I read aloud portions of my book based on their interviews. After I finished reading, one of the monks, in a whisper, asked if I had heard the latest from the Vatican.

My first thought was, Why is he whispering? Theres no one within ten miles of us. He continued to whisper, saying that many religious leaders believed that a great spiritual upsurge would soon take place in the world, and religious institutions needed to be ready for this.

I couldnt help but remember the similar conversation from five years before with the elderly monk in Kentucky. Since 2012, I have read that other religious leaders, including Native American spiritual leaders and Buddhist masters, have expressed their conviction that a great influx of light is coming to the world.

Certainly, something major is happening to our world with the coronavirus. Because human beings have free will, whether the crisis will lead to more light and compassion or more darkness and fear is up to us.

As a pandemic, the coronavirus crisis reminds us that we are part of the global human family. What happens in China, Japan, Italy and Spain matters to us, and how we as citizens of the US respond to the crisis will matter to our brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world.

I dont pretend to know if the coronavirus is part of the great spiritual awakening that others told me about. Maybe what the monks and others have shared with me over the past decade is what old-timers used to call piffle, utter nonsense.

However, what I believe is that this crisis offers a spiritual challenge, not just a medical and economic one. When this crisis is over, Italy will be remembered as the country where quarantined people sang together from their balconies. Spain will be remembered as the nation where her citizens, at a prearranged time, opened their windows to applaud and cheer the dedication and courage of health-care workers.

What will our country be remembered for? Will America be remembered as the country that stockpiled toilet paper and guns or be remembered as a country that emerged from the crisis with reset values?

The future is not written in stone. What we will be as a nation is up to us. Lets choose wisely, not letting that part of the brain where fears are bred override that part of us the heart that cares for others.

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David Carlson: The spiritual challenge of the coronavirus - Daily Journal

Teachers & Healers: Carr mixes medicine and spirituality with his two professions – Huron Daily Tribune

ByMary Drier, For the Tribune

Chuck Carr, at right, has been a respiratory therapist at the Hills and Dales General Hospital in Cass City since 2002. He also managed the respiratory department there for about 16 years before stepping down two years ago to slow down some. (Provided photo)

Chuck Carr, at right, has been a respiratory therapist at the Hills and Dales General Hospital in Cass City since 2002. He also managed the respiratory department there for about 16 years before stepping down

Chuck Carr, at right, has been a respiratory therapist at the Hills and Dales General Hospital in Cass City since 2002. He also managed the respiratory department there for about 16 years before stepping down two years ago to slow down some. (Provided photo)

Chuck Carr, at right, has been a respiratory therapist at the Hills and Dales General Hospital in Cass City since 2002. He also managed the respiratory department there for about 16 years before stepping down

Teachers & Healers:Carr mixes medicine and spirituality with his two professions

CASS CITY Chuck Carrs careers have contributed to peoples well-being both physically and spiritually.

At Hills and Dales General Hospital in Cass City, he is a respiratory therapist, and he is also an itinerant minister in the area.

I started out pastoring a very small church in Missouri," Carr said. "They could not afford to pay me very much, so I worked other jobs. I worked at a store changing truck and car tires. I wasnt married so at that time so my financial needs were not great. Later, I decided I wanted to do something more with my life. A school there had a 12 month respiratory program. I continued to pastor, continued to work at the tire store, and took classes.

At the end of year, he earned a respiratory certification.

Shortly after he graduated, the economy was in a slump so jobs were hard to find in his community of about 3,400 people.

The community had two hospitals, but because of the schools respiratory program there, there was a surplus of us in that field, "he said. So I started to look elsewhere for work.

He started applying for jobs in Michigan in 1983 because his wife is from here.

When asked why I moved to Michigan, I just say, Love brought me here, he said.

He got a job at the Garden City Hospital in Michigan and worked there for 13 years.

While I was there, I continued to do the Lords work itinerant preaching, teaching Bible school, teaching Sunday school, and worked full time, said Carr.

Some of his education for his theological career included attending the Bob Jones University, and earning a second degree from the William Tyndale College in Farmington Hills. He has also attended the Northland Baptist Bible College as well as Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

He furthered his education as a respiratory therapist by getting a bachelors degree to upgrade from his certificate.

Carr explained a respiratory therapist program now takes three years to complete and is an associate degree.

He went from the Garden City Hospital to the Port Huron General Hospital for six years, and he also continued his ministry there as well.

From there, he went to Hills and Dales General Hospital in 2002, where he also managed the respiratory department for about 16 years before stepping down two years ago to slow down some.

What I like about being a therapist, it has been a steady career for 37 years, and it has given me an opportunity to be in the community as a Christian, Carr said. Im a respiratory therapist who is also a pastor, and Im a pastor that is also a respiratory therapist."

Those careers have given me an opportunity to enjoy the sciences and the continuing education that goes with being a therapist; and as an itinerate minister, I share the Gospel and administer to spiritual needs," he said. "I enjoy what I do at the hospital an in churches.

Carr preaches at various churches in the area. He helps out at the First Baptist Church in Cass City. He is a deacon on the board there, teaches adult Sunday school, and when the pastor is out of town, he preaches in his place.

He noted both his careers give him a lot of satisfaction.

As a respiratory therapist and part of the hospitals team, it is satisfying when I can help someone physically with their breathing, and satisfying when I can minister the Word that brought comfort and peace.

Carrs position is also called a cardiopulmonary therapist, because it deals with both the lungs and heart.

As a cardiopulmonary therapist, Carr goes to code blue calls at the hospital, which is where someone is in immediate danger of losing their life. He is part of the cardiopulmonary resuscitation team that responds.

That is immensely satisfying," he said. "When you have helped saves someones life."

The downside of his medical profession is when someone who has breathing issues that he worked with for a long time passes, he said.

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Teachers & Healers: Carr mixes medicine and spirituality with his two professions - Huron Daily Tribune

spiritual connections – The Batavian

"Spiritual Connections"--The Batavianwill post updates to connect people with their places of worship, religious services, fellowship opportunities, and/or spiritual advisors, etc.

If you have information to announce, please email: [emailprotected] OR [emailprotected]

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First Baptist Church Elbahas moved their services online. Sermons are posted each Saturday for the regular Sunday service time. We encourage you to check out our recent sermons while you are at home during this time. The church is closed during normal services times between 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Sundays. The church office is not open to visitors, however the office phone is answer from 9 a.m - 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Please call if you need assistance and live in the town limits of Elba. Pastor is Michael Davis. The office phone is 585-757-2722, and the email address is: [emailprotected]

St. Paul Lutheran Church in Batavia is now posting its Sunday and Lenten weekday bulletins with worship service and sermons on theirwebsite. The Church office is not open to visitors but office staff is on hand to take calls during normal office hours 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday for any questions or needs of the congregation. A phone tree has been put in place to check on those that might be home and unable to go out publicly to retrieve necessities. If you do not receive a call, and have a need for assistance, please call the main office at (585) 343-0488. Email address is:[emailprotected]

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spiritual connections - The Batavian


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